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Syracuse basketball falls to depleted Notre Dame, 51-49

Syracuse basketball lost its second straight game Saturday afternoon and first in the Carrier Dome this season, 51-49 to Notre Dame. Even with the Irish playing without Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, Mike Brey managed to escape from the Carrier Dome with a win in the most frustrating game (so far) for Orange fans to watch this season.

Where do you even start with this game? The good news — of which there was very little — was that Tyus Battle scored 21 points and Oshae Brissett put up another double-double. That was about it. The defense only allowed 51 points and Notre Dame shot just 30 percent from the field, but it was still enough to stop Syracuse from getting a home win.

The bad news starts with rebounding. Syracuse is supposed to be able to rebound. It’s one of the only real strengths the Orange has as a team: its size. That size was not helpful Saturday, as Notre Dame out-rebounded SU, 42-27. Even more startling, 21 of the Irish’s 42 boards were on the offensive end. It resulted in 16 second-chance points, or 31 percent of Notre Dame’s scoring.

While rebounding was the biggest problem, the offense just didn’t have any sort of rhythm. Oshae Brissett went 0-8 from inside the three-point line. The Orange followed a 10-20 first half shooting with just eight makes in 26 shots in the second. Because of it, SU gave up its nine-point halftime lead in almost no time while Notre Dame ended up taking 10 more shots than SU in the game.

The game ended in a fitting way, given how ugly the contest was as a whole. After Tyus Battle had just tied the game at 49 with a three, the Orange star turned the ball over in a tie game with seconds remaining. TJ Gibbs missed the breakaway layup on the other end, but Rex Pflueger beat the Orange to the basket for the rebound and a putback with just two seconds to go. Both Frank Howard and Marek Dolzaj let Pflueger rush to the basket while they watched at half court.

Syracuse falls to 12-4 on the season and 1-2 in ACC play with Saturday’s loss, while Notre Dame moves to 13-3 and 3-0 in conference play. Syracuse does not have an easy week ahead of it. The Orange faces No. 8 Virginia and No. 24 Florida State before it returns to the comfort of the Carrier Dome.

Posted: Nathan Dickinson

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